One of Europe’s fiercest rivalries will take place on the weekend, with Greek giants Panathinaikos and Olympiacos doing battle on Sunday night.
This match has always produced drama and action, and this will be expected again come Sunday.
Both clubs will go into this match with a huge contrast in form, something that was unheard of ten years ago.
Across their last two games, Olympiacos have had a hard fought 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the Champions League and demolished Volos 5-0. In comparison, Panathinaikos suffered a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Aris, while also falling 3-1 at home to OFI.
Regardless, derbies are occasions where teams lift, and this should not be any different.
A win for Panathinaikos would greatly ease the pressure on under-fire manager Giorgos Donis, while a victory away from home would continue Olympiacos’ perfect start to the season.
With another cracking match between the two coming this weekend, let’s look back at some of the memorable (and unmemorable) derbies between the two over the last decade:
17 March 2019 – With Olympiacos leading 1-0, the match is stopped in the 69th minute and abandoned after fans clashed with police. In the sixth minute, a group of Panathinaikos fans entered the pitch and attacked the Olympiacos bench. Subsequently, Olympiacos were awarded a 3-0 victory.
11 November 2018 – Panathinaikos goalkeeper Sokratis Dioudis is forced off after a nasty head clash and concerned players embrace, with the goalkeeper given a standing ovation. A wondergoal from outside the box by Panathinaikos midfielder Ergys Kace gives the youthful Panathinaikos the lead, however a 95th minute equaliser rescues the result for Olympiacos.
22 November 2015 – The referee suspends the match prior to kick off, due to violence by Panathinaikos fans. Olympiacos forward Alfred Finnbogason is struck in the leg by a flare. Olympiacos is awarded a 3-0 victory without a ball being kicked and Panathinaikos is deducted three points.
22 February 2015 – Panathinaikos win a hard-fought derby 2-1, however poor fan behaviour results in the deduction of three points for the Greens. Projectiles are thrown at Olympiacos president Vangelis Marinakis, a pitch invasion occurs prior to kick off, a flare is thrown at the Olympiacos bench and multiple flares are sent flying onto the pitch following a late goal to Olympiacos player Alejandro Dominguez.
2 March 2014 – A week after Olympiacos defeat Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League, Panathinaikos come to the Karaiskakis Stadium with all guns blazing, defeating their rivals 3-0. A cup of drink is thrown at Panathinaikos manager Yiannis Anastasiou, who falls to the ground. The stadium is sent a scare, as Olympiacos striker Michael Olaitan collapses and is sent to hospital.
2 November 2013 – There is late drama, as an 89th minute winner by Olympiacos striker Kostas Mitroglou gives the away team a 1-0 victory.
18 March 2012 – The start of the second half is delayed, as Panathinaikos fans throw flares and Molotov cocktails at police, which results in the match being abandoned. The Greens were deducted five points and had to play four matches behind closed doors as punishment.
19 February 2011 – Olympiacos defeat Panathinaikos 2-1, however the match is surrounded by controversy. A series of referee blunders take place, including a Panathinaikos goal that is disallowed. At the final whistle, Olympiacos fans charge the pitch and attack Panathinaikos players, with Greens striker Djibril Cisse among those that were targeted. Cisse says that he was the victim of racist chants by fans and has a heated confrontation with Olympiacos president Vangelis Marinakis in the dressing rooms, which results in a lawsuit.
30 October 2010 – A crowd of just over 52,000 witnesses Panathinaikos defeat Olympiacos 2-1 at the OAKA Stadium, with Cisse scoring a double to overcome a 1-0 deficit. Olympiacos defender Avraam Papadopoulos is sent off for a foul on Cisse, with the French striker converting the penalty and sending the home fans into pandemonium.
Hopefully, this weekend’s encounter makes the news for being a memorable match on the pitch, rather than for poor behaviour off it.